The TouchPad flopped and is on the way out, but Apple is steamrolling ahead in the tablet business. The company is working on the release of its forthcoming iPad 3 tablet, according to a report.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Apple is currently working with component suppliers and its assembler in Asia for the trial production of its next generation iPad, quoting people familiar with the situation.

Apple's iPad is the global tablet leader, and the company is looking to extend its advantage with a significant update to its current top-selling iPad 2.

The report said the next generation iPad will feature a high resolution display -- 2048x1536 compared with 1024x768 in the iPad 2 -- and Apple's suppliers have already shipped small quantities of components for the sampling of the iPad 3. Suppliers said Apple has placed orders for a 9.7-inch screen device.

An Apple spokeswoman in Beijing declined to comment on the report, but the paper said one component supplier to Apple said the company was already placing parts orders for the iPad 3. Apple is ordering parts for 1.5 million iPad 3s, to be shipped in the fourth quarter, according to the report.

Apple manufactures the iPad in Foxconn in China, outsourcing its manufacturing for the product as the company does with its iPhone smartphone. Apple is the global leader in the smartphone and tablet spaces with its iPhone and iPad, and speculation over the launch of new products is one of the most discussed and speculated on events of the year in consumer tech devices.

On Thursday, HP said it will no longer support its TouchPad tablet, effectively ending the product after a short lifespan. Many hailed the TouchPad and its WebOS operating system as a product worthy of direct battle against Apple's industry-leading tablet but in the end the TouchPad didn't put up much of a fight.

Now, speculation is focused on when Apple's iPad 3 will be released. According to a supplier quoted in the WSJ, Apple's new iPad will be officially launched in early 2012.

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